It’s been over a month since my trip to the East Coast and I have come to terms with how I behaved. On July 29, I was a New York Yankees fan for three hours.
There, I said it.
Let me explain.
Being raised an Oakland A’s fan, I committed one of the most unforgivable sins.
The Yankees spoiled our party more than once. They came into our home and embarrassed us. They regularly took away our favorite players—I will never get over losing Mike Gallego to them—never!
Going against all I believed in, I was a Yankees fan for nine innings.
Although animosity accompanies any thought related to the Bronx Bombers, I knew I had to visit Yankee Stadium before the end of its final season.
Stepping off the subway to join the pushing crowd, an unexpected wave of anticipation influenced every thought that trickled through my mind. Many have expressed opinions of the stadium and it was my turn to form my own.
With the new stadium lurking right next to the old one, this moment was one that had “irreplaceable” scribbled on it with a lemon-scented marker.
The humidity was something I had a tough time adjusting to and, for a moment, it made my experience less than stellar. Luckily, a fresh-squeezed lemonade before the game alleviated all grumpiness from my system.
There was so much history that surrounded me. I couldn’t help but feel at like a child as I studied every detail of the stadium. The Louisville Slugger, Memorial Park, the white frieze (c’mon, we were inundated with the images as the All-Star Game was advertised), and the subway train that passed right outside the stadium made the event surreal.
Thoughts of being surrounded by Yankees fans made me nervous, but once I was settled in my seat, it all went away. A side of the fans that is hardly highlighted shined through that night.
First, the infamous Yankee Bleacher Creatures roll call. Witnessing it in person was the first step in my transition. Captivated by the player-fan interaction, I felt myself taking steps toward Yankee fandom.
It wasn’t just the Bleacher Creatures, though.
All around me, the fans seemed to have a personal relationship with the players, albeit one-sided. They had unique nicknames for their favorite players, they waxed philosophically about the intricacies of being a “true Yankee who earned his pinstripes,” (apparently, the two gentlemen behind me felt Alex Rodriguez would never be a “real Yankee”), and, my favorite thing, they yelled odd things to show their support—“Suck it, DJ! Suck it!!!” Yeah, I didn’t understand how it was supportive, but she loved her some Derek Jeter.
With this going on around me, I found myself cheering for the Yanks. Dressed very team neutral (I was sporting my B/R shirt), fans around me didn’t know I walked in anti-Yankee. I became the willing recipient of high-fives. Never in my life did I predict I would allow myself to high-five a Yankee fan.
After the game, my friends and I took pictures with the field and scoreboard behind us—our new Yankee friends volunteered to take our picture.
Following the captured moment, the glow started to subside and we all felt it.
We, the West-Coasters, were feeling the fan-guilt. We really cheered for the Yankees.
The game itself was enjoyable. The Yankees lost, but it didn’t matter. I walked away with a new perspective when it came to the “Evil Empire.”
For a moment, I forgot about how much I abhorred the Yankees. The environment, especially the fans, felt welcoming and addicting. While it took me more than a month to man up and write this article, I am ready to say it out loud.
I am a West Coast baseball fan and was momentarily a Yankee fan.
For a brief instant, I thought I lost my true fan identity. I knew writing about my experience would be the required therapy.
From denial to acceptance, without any other steps in between—now I can truly say that it’s good to be back to normal. That world was a wonderful place to visit, but I’m a Bay Area fan at heart.